You can easily spot a desi house, from afar, by the clothes hanging on the balcony and terrace. Along with many other things, foreigners find drying the clothes on our balconies instead of using a dryer pretty strange.
Someone raised a similar question on Quora and here’s what desi people had to say!
1. “India is a hot tropical country except for the cold hill stations and during the rainy seasons. So, a washing machine with just a spinner is enough for us, just to squeeze out the water. In many houses, they don’t even have a washing machine as we have maids doing the washing. Some places with water shortage find washing machines taking lots of water. We dry these in the sunlight or in a breezy place like in our balconies or in the terrace. The sunlight and wind give the clothes a freshness that isn’t got by a drier. The smell of washed and sundried clothes is something to be felt, it cannot be explained. Sun-drying also kills bacteria and other germs. Also, the world recommends everybody to use solar energy to produce electricity and to save electricity.”
2. “The question sounds flipped. The regions which don’t have sufficient sunshine or sufficient space need a dryer, not the other way around. People have been drying clothes for millennia in the sun before dryers were invented to help you live in dreary and cloudy places. In fact, a lot of these places would otherwise use fireplaces to dry clothes. Also, drying in sun is not an Indian or Asian thing either. In fact, drying in the sun is also a global greener alternative, sunlight with UV rays can also disinfect clothes, prevent moulds and they smell nice as well. Try it sometime.”
4. “It is very common practice in India. Do you think it is wrong? No, it is not wrong. In fact, it is environment-friendly. Washing machine or dryers has become common in the last 15 to 20 years before that there were no washing machines in India or it was not affordable by most of the families in India (even today, it is not affordable for some families). Apart from this in certain areas, there is a problem of electricity and continuous water supply for washing machines. Then there is a problem of dampness in clothes if it is not properly dried. Also, there are certain clothes which we can’t put in the washing machine.”
5. “I am an engineer and I just got a job. I live in a rented flat and my salary is just enough to sustain me. I can’t think of buying anything like a dryer or an air conditioner without some financial help from my parents. So, unlike many foreign countries which have public washing stations, India doesn’t have any. So, the easiest and cheapest thing now I can do is stick with the typical, that will be hanging my clothes on the terrace to dry.“
7. “Almost 95% of the country has enough sun that most of the time you can hang your clothes outside and they will dry quickly. We can afford household helps to assist with the housework which makes sense in a labour intensive country. It is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to hang your clothes outside. Sun-dried clothes/sheets/towels feel so much better than the stuff out of the drier.“
8. “I have tried the dryer and it does not dry completely like it would in an open space. Besides, dryers consume a humongous amount of electricity. Why waste energy on something which can be done without using it.“
9. “Most parts of India is quite hot and receive adequate sunlight. The electricity supply is erratic. Dryers are expensive (in the range of Rs. 15k) and the monthly electricity cost is considerable (10k per year). People not being comfortable with using a dryer properly with the appropriate settings. Drying not as per expectation. Drying clothes on the terrace is socially and culturally acceptable so no incentive change.“
10. “We Indians make use of most of the natural resources, firstly. Most of the Indian households have a practice of handwashing clothes instead of machine washing. And lastly, we also believe that drying the clothes in sun is also a process of sterilization that makes the clothes free of germs, clean, and fresh. We have been following this age-old process for ages and we feel good about it.“